I am the white, able-bodied, heterosexual, cis mother of two children – a boy and a girl – whose ethnic heritage is Chinese, English, Filipino, and German.
I am appalled, disgusted, opposed to, and I unequivocally condemn not only what we’ve seen in Charlottesville these last few days, but also the behaviour and social media activity of one of our local regional councillors, and all racism.
And you know what I wish right now?
I wish that more people were as clear in their feelings about this.
One way or the other.
If you’re anti-racist and will stand up against all that’s wrong in the world – yes, even in here in Canada – show us. Be vocal. Stand up. Be counted.
And, yes, if you’re a Nazi, white supremacist, or white nationalist, stop skulking around in the shadows and stand up and be counted. That’s the only way we can truly know what we’re up against.
Plus, freedom of speech, right?
You’re all so eager to defend your abhorrent views about non-white people and white people who have coupled with non-white people with shouts of “free speech!” but the vast majority of you, especially here in Canada, continue to skulk around or stay quiet. Stand up. Make yourselves known.
And white friends who claim they’re not racist, when those people do stand up and makes themselves known; when those people defend the actions and behaviour of Nazis; when those people claim “hate is on all sides,” say something. Do something. If you remain quiet in the face of that, you are complicit in it. End of.
If you, as well, are suggesting even for a second, that Nazis have the right to spew their hatred, you are not only wrong, but you are part of the problem. A big part of the problem.
Hate speech is not protected. Further, my standing up against a Nazi’s vile views does not, in fact, threaten their freedom of speech. Free speech means two things. It means the government cannot impose upon you what you will and will not say (except in the case, again, of hate speech), and it means that I can tell you that you’re a disgusting, vile person for holding and sharing those views. Time and time again, I’ve made clear to people that “free speech” is not consequence-free speech.
If you lost your job or your family disowned you or your colleagues condemned your behaviour and shunned you or voters didn’t vote for you again, that’s a consequence of the vileness of your opinions and in no way impacts your ability to continue to spew such despicable views.
What the news of the last few days and the knowledge that racism lives here has done to me and my family the last few days is inexcusable. Like many other parents of non-white children, I have to have discussions with my 9yo and 12yo that parents of white children are not having; do not have to have.
“They hate me just because of my skin colour? But they don’t know anything else about me.”
And then I have to explain that they don’t care how smart, funny, and kind my children are, they hate them anyway. AND I will do everything in my power to stand up against that hatred and defend them and protect them.
“But you’d be okay, Mommy, because you’re white.”
And then I have to explain that I wouldn’t be, because I had babies with a non-white man. BUT I will still do everything in my power to stand up against that hatred and defend them and protect them.
If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it’s bullshit.
And if you claim to not be racist, but you’re not actively anti-racist, then that’s also bullshit.
Hate lives on only one side.